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Chapter 42: Cerin is Coerced(2)

Cerin looked down from the top of the climbing wall to see Frona shivering with pure rage and glaring at the man that had materialized out of nowhere.

Judging from his physique he was definitely not a regular go'er of the gym so he may not have known the strict rules they had regarding the female members of the gym. But that was no excuse for his behavior.

Cerin tugged twice to test the rope's integrity and then began a rapid descent, faster than should've been possible for such a rookie and in less than 3 minutes she was on the floor and unhooking herself to go beat on the jerk when she suddenly heard a familiarly slimy voice.

" Excuse me here sir? What exactly do you think this place is for you to be doing such things to one of our valuable customers?"

The manager's tone was like a fang dipped in poison and dangerously stabbed into the rude man's psyche with every word.

Cerin still walked over to comfort Frona who looked like she wanted to rip the man's face off and as she did she realized that despite him being one of the founding members of the gym she had never actually seen the manager use it. That also meant she had never gotten a good grasp of hsi skills.

As a result she looked forwards to watching him fight.

The man looked down at the manager and thought to himself that while the manager looked fit enough he was nowhere close to himself who actually attended professional martial arts classes as well as going to the gym. He raised a threatening arm and was about to push him aside when he suddenly felt a large pressure loom over behind him.

At that point the coach had already stormed over and didn't even bother with words; instead choosing to pick up the man by the scruff and promptly tossed him out of the gym.

The man tried to struggle but could do nothing against the large mass of muscle that was the coach.

" Put me down! Do you really think I won't sue for violence?! If you want to keep your job then set me down right now!

The manager slithered in behind the coach and set an arm on his shoulder, signalling him to put down the angry man.

" That's enough Rian. He really isn't worth it."

He then slithered around to face the angry man and smiled amicably, as if he wanted to apologize.

" Just so you are aware sir we do have cameras in here! So while we would rather not be taken to court I can assure you that we will put forth our best effort to screw you over so badly that you'll be paying the electricity bill for this place for the next 10 years."

And then with a toothy grin that showed off his slightly fanged canines he withdrew and went up to Frona with probably the most sincere expression Cerin had ever seen from him.

Honestly the manager was a rather good looking guy, it was just his sleazy demeanor that made him so repulsive to Cerin.

" Sorry you had to experience that Ms Frona.. In return is there anything that we can do?"

Frona shook her head at an impossible pace and looked at him with a gaze that made both him and Rin uncomfortable.

" No, no its fine. You already dealt with him just fact its us who should be thanking you! Is there anything I can help with?"

Cerin saw his face light up at that sentence and was immediately put on edge. She moved to stand in front of Frona and started in a slow and wary tone.

" That was a really kind thing to do.. and anything you were going to have Frona do..feel free to ask me instead. She is my model after all."

The manager's face contorted into a gleeful smile at her words and without giving her space to breathe he guided her into his office and brought out a project proposal and set it infront of her.

"Cerin, how would you like do become an official employee of the gym? Not as a latched on entrepreneur or as a crew but one of the upper management?"

The question came as quite a surprise to Cerin, One because she had been considering asking him the same thing and two because she was sure he would have asked her to pay to officially link her business to the gym's brand.

While she had considered starting off her own brand she realized that she just would not have time while she went to school full time as she was planning too. Even with all the memories she had she knew they were useless without the certification to back them up.

As well, she only had the memories and no the skills. Even for her fashion show designs she could only go through those that the 6th had come up with but hadn't had the chance to make and brand.

The manager seemed to sense that she was not at all resistant to the idea and continued his pre-prepared speech.

"Since you've started here, with the food business and the pregnancy yoga classes as well as nutrition education sessions you hold occasionally-"

The manager listed off all of the things Cerin had been doing mainly for Serana but had attracted a small group of gym goer's wives who were pregnant as well as some who were planning on getting pregnant in the near future. Since it hadn't really been a hassle she had let them sit in on the classes she gave to Serana and eventually made small informal classes to educate them on the things they constantly asked questions about.

" As well as your proposal to include those sessions into the membership benefits here for the members of the gym. That was when it occurred to me. Cerin."

He suddenly switched to a serious expression that didn't suit the impression of him Cerin had.

" Since you seem so determined to expand us into a business rather than just a gym and it seems to be working; you really shouldn't just be a member of the gym or a latched on entrepreneur. You should be the ceo of the business but since we aren't on that scale yet I can only offer you a part of the stocks and recognition as one of the founding members. So what do you think?"

Although he was saying all the right things Cerin couldn't help but be wary at his sudden altruistic behavior and called him by name for the first time since they had known each other.

" Jonas. You mean you want me to work for you?"

He quickly combated her wary tone with his signature slippery manner of speech.

"Of course not miss Cerin. I really just want to keep you here with the gym. You said you were going into a management degree? Well then with this you'll already have a job by the time you graduate and with Serana here your workload won't increase any more than you want it too."

As he spoke he brought out a thin envelope and set it in front of her.

" This is the contract and it says pretty much exactly what i just said. I really would like you to consider it…"

He trailed off and began to walk around, looking around his office with an uncharacteristically sentimental expression on his face.

" You may not know this but when I and Rian started up this gym we did so with big dreams. We both came from rather financially stricken families so we hoped to really reach the starts with this gym you know? But the fact is that I really only know how to focus on the financial bottom line, and Rian is only good with athletes and those serious about reaching physical perfection. He's not so great at dealing with casual gym goers..that's why we have such a small membership. I really believe that with you here, we can improve our gym and really reach the stars."

Cerin still felt wary and wondered what the catch was but after thinking it over she decided to

at least read over the contract and put herself in the mindset for the first Cerin.

Just off the top of her head she could come up with ten different ideas for the gym to expand past what it currently was and she didn't deny that being entitled to 15 % of the gyms's total proceedings was attractive. As well there was nothing blatantly wrong with the contract and she didn't find any restrictions that she saw herself going she decided to sign.

Yet as soon as she lifted her pen off the paper it was seized out of her hands and carefully filed away in a drawer that blended into the wall. A new folder was then slid in front of her.

Although she had been expecting it she was still annoyed that he had shown his true colors so quickly.

She flipped through the advertisement proposal and just as quickly as she had read through it she slammed it onto the table and stared Jonas down with a dead expression.

"..Jonas. If you think I'm going to let Ryella do even a single stunt in this then you're out of your mind and contrary to what you apparently believe I'm not a superwoman. Expecting any of these is ambiguous at best and delusional at worst."

Since they were now on virtually equal terms Cerin didn't bother with pulling any punches and made her point clear.

" We'll do a few basic exercises, 2 stunts, 1 clip of the fights and an informational voice over on top of the video clips. We will not advertise any of our merchandise with scantily dressed women or men and I'll need a month to fully design the clothing merchandise."

Jonas countered in the same point form Cerin had.

" Cut the basic exercises, 4 stunts, 3 clips of the fights and promote the gym and reference the website at least 3 times during the voice over…..and get those designs back to me by 2 weeks."

Cerin slightly scowled.

" You're not my boss Jonas."

With an irritating smile Jonas put on a surprised expression and said.

" On didn't i tell you Cerin? I and Rian have 20% of the stocks… Of Course most of this goes into running the gym itself but at only 15% doesn't that kinda make me your superior?"

Cerin blinked twice, slowly as if she was deep in thought and then simply folded her arms and sat back.

" Then I guess we're at a standstill Jonas. Because I. just. Won't. do. It."

For the first time in his life Jonas was at a loss at Cerin's unconventional method of rejecting his opinion… somehow he hadn't considered that but Cerin wasn't done speaking.

" If you insist on having all of this done then feel free to hire someone to do all of this. And if you're against me being like this then you haven't officially filed me as one of the stockholders with a lawyer..feel free to rip it right up."

Jonas suddenly broke into a large smile and began to laugh.

" Of course I was joking around Cerin….just making sure you wouldn't crack if someone else tried to pressure you like that."

Still maintaining his flawless smile that may or may not have been real he put forth another proposal.

" I actually don't see the point of the basic exercise showcasing. We are an advanced gym for serious gym goers..that's what makes us stand out. We can cater to causal members but they'll never be as prioritized to us. As well we only have 20 seconds for the ad so we need to make an impact. So, 3 stunts, 1 clip of the fight and we show off the canteen and your classes on women's health and fitness… deal?"

"And the merchandise?"

He shrugged to show how little he thought of her idea for branding the gym.

" Take as long as you want. We're a gym not a clothing store so that's never going to be a priority. As well the capital required to make them isn't small so I'll leave it in your hands."

Cerin nodded to show she understood and then extended her small but gracefully calloused hands towards the manager.

" Deal."

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